tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN December 5, 2013 12:00am-2:01am EST
make a difference because we are going to have to make changes in medicare, yes. and i would like to know from both of you what your thoughts are on what we need to do in >> it is important that we have a sustainable social safety net for our seniors. medicare needs to be a different program in the future both financially and because the care seniors need is different than when medicare was founded. it is not the and but it is a great stepping stone. it needs to be preserved and not wither on the vine. >> we need that financial backing. is a serious concern in terms of funding. >> very quickly if you could add to that. >> my simple answer is that this partnership, public-private partnership has been successful and therefore in my mind we should invest in that and make that at her as opposed to
cutting it back. rex thank you so much. thank you to all of you and thank you to the chairman. i went to my times of thank you for allowing me to do so. >> that concludes our first round of questions. we will go to one follow-up per side. dr. burgess will begin with five minutes of follow-up. >> i wanted to follow-up with talkingff we were about. there is a crisis of confidence. the president has sold the affordable care act on a raft of us premises. you can keep your plan, false. you can keep your doctor, false. these are broken promises and easily the opportunity cost that americans are paying for for the a quarter will -- affordable care act. there was a promise made to seniors. medicarese your dollars as a payee bank and we will improve medicare and allow
seniors to keep their doctors if they like. do you have an opinion as to whether or not this was another row can promise? >> it is. -- fixable?sical >> it is the problem. should be a medicare damage in the ways we described earlier. their promises. the regulations and the funding are at odds with the promise. the promise cannot be held true. >> fixing it would involve alteration in the funding. do you see any way or any mechanism by which that could happen, is there anything to give you optimism that that funding can be restored? >> under current law, it will not happen. it needs to change. >> on me ask you this.
i was not here in 1988, 19 89. i do not know if you were involved. >> i am old, yes. >> there was -- the democratic chairman put forward a catastrophic care program. he is very proud of it. and asked the congress might part -- by bipartisan vote. they went home satisfied with what they had done. and then something odd happened. people rejected the law that was passed. they rejected it because in a similar way it moved funding around in a way that seniors that would be deleterious to their well-being. do you remember what happened in spring after that? ,> after they got the bill after they chased them with the umbrellas the repealed the law. >> there is a mechanism by which this problem could be fixed also repeal.llow the 1989
>> there is no question this is physical -- fixable. it requires congress to act and congress to sign. to address the issue or ask. we have all these experts in front of us. cost ofeports that medicare has come down. we're going to get by the end of this week, the congressional budget office will give us a projection on the proposed cut and the sustainable growth rate formula which is less than everyone was anticipating. a lot of opinions out there as to why the cost reduction is occurring. the administration wanted to take credit for it. it is the affordable care act. i do not know if it has had time. the recession is playing a role but i do not know that is the entirety of it. we are here 10 years past the
signing of the medicare modernization act with the provision of medicare advantage and the drug benefit. if we do believe that it is timer to -- a stitch in saves nine and it is better to treat early before the disease gets well-established perhaps we are seeing some benefit from passing the medicare modernization act. do any of you have an opinion as to whether or not that might be playing a role in these lower costs customer >> i do not know how much of the current slowdown in health spending growth we can attribute to prescription drug andapies but we now, cbo others have found that a part d program has reduced costs other work -- elsewhere in mid --. has been an important part of the structure of the entitlement. the part d row graham i will have its 10th anniversary on sunday. that is the most successful entitlement and we should try to
model every reform as closely to that as possible. >> that was constructed more like insurance and less like entitlement if i recall those discussions. i know it has been a long morning. i will yield back. >> thank you. recognizing the ranking member. >> thank you. , i am goingd to say to ask my question that i wanted to say with regard to mr. eakin's testimony, i disagree. 's and medicare, seniors have a choice. they are not looking for a year likee with a -- for a year with an m.a. plan. they are not locked in, they can
choose who they want with aco's. you about how medicare damage could be improved. all this here agreed that the medicare damage program is a crucial alternative to traditional medicare especially for individuals with complex health care needs. in your opinion based on your organization's work in assisting medicare beneficiaries what recommendations do you have for how the medicare advantage program could be improved for beneficiaries? >> the promise of managed care when it was initially put forward in the mid--1990's, a big push was that it would save the federal government money and provide core care. we talked a lot about the advantages of medicare advantage but some of that promise has not been met. as we have talked some of the plans are better than others but overall, the level of coordinated care does very widely amongst clans and so we
think better monitoring and oversight by the senate -- a center for medicare and medicaid services to make sure those promises are kept. once again, better information about appeals within those programs. people call us and -- when they have problems. what we see in the medicare advantage plans are problems with access to care, with utilization management, or other barriers put to a variety of care and we work with physicians and plans to ease those barriers for people with medicare and medicare advantage. having that information available about which plans and how they are setting up maybe unnecessary barriers to care would be helpful. and enable people to not only compare benefits but to compare how this benefits aren't ministered by particular plans and making sure that people are choosing those plans that are fulfilling the promise that a withf us have talked about
regard to courtney did care. i think once again with this , theof custom tailoring stars program needs to be better. people want to know when you are looking at your two cars and consumer reports there is not only stars in the car's overall but on engine performance and break performance and other kinds of performance measures. we will get to a place where we can customize those even more and that will help folks choose between the program. i want to reiterate that i think the original day care program or the traditional medicare program which we have had since 1965 is the bedrock, something that people continually know is there and go back to. it has regardless of a lot of what we have said, if you look , theer the last 30 years traditional medicare program and private insurance have done about the same job, curtailing
costs, good or bad. there is a lot of improvement that could be made in the original medicare but there is a lot of improvement that could be made in medicare advantage as well. >> i only have a minute left. some people including you have suggested we could establish a so-called medicare party which was supplemental of medicare without beneficiaries having to a for the overhead and process of private insurance plans. could you elaborate on how you would envision that would be structured or how it would be an improvement to the current medicare structure? you have one minute. >> a think the commonwealth fund has put together a more comprehensive proposal. what it would do is combine part a, part b, r d, prescription drug, and medigap. this would go toe to toe with medicare advantage and the original medicare program as it
exists now. it is an alternative. something that would exist alongside andy would allow more choice for consumers and it would have these cord needed benefits and coordinated coverage that we have been talking about today. it is something that would put together in one place government run programs that have all these components that all these people with medicare value and need and it could save money. >> thank you. the chair thanks all the witnesses for your testimony. this has been an excellent hearing. very informational. the members may have follow-up questions, we will submit to those in writing. they have 10 business days to submit questions for the record. they should submit their questions by the close of business on wednesday, december 18. without objection, the subcommittee is adjourned.
president obama on jobs and the economy and income inequality. in less than hour, the head of of mayor confederation teachers speaks with reporters at the christian science monitor. walden,esentative greg on to make haitians and technology. communications and technology. >> a several live events to tell you about tomorrow morning. treasury secretary jack lew will be at the future will trust to discuss the state of financial reform. also on c-span2, members of the
house and energy commerce subcommittee on energy and power will hear from energy regulatory commissioners. span330 eastern a.m. on c- we cover a hearing on unemployment benefits that are set to expire at the end of the month. >> from age eight, betty ford, then betty [inaudible] put on skits and plays and that led to eddington, vermont where she studied at the school of dance. these are some of her notecards. no bookstworks -- where she kept cards. she carried this with her to vermont, back to grand rapids, off to new york where she studied with martha graham and work with the powers modeling agency and back to grand rapids
again. you will find a host of things that you would find in just about any organizer. brochures on dance costumes, one of her sketches of a costume for one of the dance routines that she wanted to put on. madeography notes that she for different dance routines so there is a whole wealth of material in here that talks about her love for dance and how deeply she was involved in it. especially in her early years. >> watch a program on first lady eddie ford at our website. or see it saturday on c-span at 7:00 p.m. eastern and our series continues monday as we look at first lady rosalynn carter. jobs, thent obama on economy, and income inequality. posted by the center for american progress, this is a
little less than an hour. [applause] x good morning. thank you for being here. i want to thank you. mayor gray is here as well as other mayors and i want to thank for joining us today. capre honored to do so as celebrates its 10th anniversary. that weud for old ideas have put together during the past decade. your idea to grow the economy from the middle out and expand health care and to improve our school. i am prouder still that behind all of these policies is a
simple idea, expanding opportunity for all americans. we believe that nevada where you come from, we are all better off if we have the opportunity to succeed. it is at the heart of what we do every day. we have learned that expanding the middle class is the best way to grow and grow stronger. the idea that the principal is credited on is for policy. it has mattered so much in my own life. boston,p in a suburb of the child of parents who came from india decades earlier. went essential middle-class town. when i was five my cats got divorced and my dad left. my mom was on her own, it never having held a job before. she faced going back to india or going on welfare to support heard two young children. and i, we code -- we would have been marked stigmatized. she knew our opportunities would be very limited.
she made that tough choice and stayed. we stayed. we were on welfare and on food stamps. we received housing vouchers to pay for rent but because of a series of fortuitous events we were able to remain in bedford and i was able to go to bedford's rate public schools. my mom eventually got a job as a travel agent and by the time i was 11 i am proud to say that she bought her own house in bedford, massachusetts. my mom is an amazing woman who faced a great deal for her children but i am here also because of a lot of people worked hard to expand opportunity. it is hard to share my story but i know that we live in cynical times. it is easy to dismiss the fight in washington is partisan games but there are kids growing up andy who have big dreams fight tough circumstances. it is not a game for them. cannot forget that the
decisions people make your matter. every one has a fair shake or not. i'm grateful to work in an organization like the center for merrick in progress committed to expanding that circle so that children today have hope for a better circumstance than their -- a better future than their circumstances. i am more grateful that we have a president who lived and raised a commitment to an america that expands the middle class, gives people a fair shot, and make sure that no matter where you come from, you can make it if you try. it sounds a little corny but that is what the american dream is all about. president obama told the country in his state of the union is -- this year that it is our generation's task to unite the -- to create a rising thriving middle class. i could not agree more. the country has been through a lot and i'm grateful that we have a president who in every
decision he has faced on the foughtbattles, long battles, and even that she has focused on expanding opportunity for all americans and i think it is in part because he is thinking of the kids i need that fair shot to ensure that they reach their potential. he knows we're all better off when they do. and for that i am very grateful as well. great privilege to introduce to you the president of the united states. [applause] >> thank you. [applause] thank you, everybody. thank you so much. please, please have a seat. thank you so much. well, thank you, neera, for the wonderful introduction and sharing a story that resonated
with me. there were a lot of parallels in my life and probably resonated with some of you. over the past 10 years, the center for american progress has done incredible work to shape the debate over expanding opportunity for all americans. and i could not be more grateful to cap not only for giving me a lot of good policy ideas, but also giving me a lot of staff. [laughter] my friend, john podesta, ran my transition. my chief of staff, denis mcdonough, did a stint at cap. so you guys are obviously doing a good job training folks. i also want to thank all the members of congress and my administration who are here today for the wonderful work that they do. i want to thank mayor gray and everyone here at thearc for having me. this center, which i've been to quite a bit, have had a chance to see some of the great work
that's done here. and all the nonprofits that call thearc home offer access to everything from education, to health care, to a safe shelter from the streets, which means that you're harnessing the power of community to expand opportunity for folks here in d.c. and your work reflects a tradition that runs through our history -- a belief that we're greater together than we are on our own. and that's what i've come here to talk about today. over the last two months, washington has been dominated by some pretty contentious debates i think that's fair to say. and between a reckless shutdown by congressional republicans in an effort to repeal the affordable care act, and admittedly poor execution on my administration's part in implementing the latest stage of the new law, nobody has acquitted themselves very well
these past few months. so it's not surprising that the american people's frustrations with washington are at an all- time high. but we know that people's frustrations run deeper than these most recent political battles. their frustration is rooted in their own daily battles -- to make ends meet, to pay for college, buy a home, save for retirement. it's rooted in the nagging sense that no matter how hard they work, the deck is stacked against them. and it's rooted in the fear that their kids won't be better off than they were. they may not follow the constant back-and-forth in washington or all the policy details, but they experience in a very personal way the relentless, decades-long trend that i want to spend some
time talking about today. and that is a dangerous and growing inequality and lack of upward mobility that has jeopardized middle-class america's basic bargain -- that if you work hard, you have a chance to get ahead. i believe this is the defining challenge of our time -- making sure our economy works for every working american. it's why i ran for president. it was at the center of last year's campaign. it drives everything i do in this office. and i know i've raised this issue before, and some will ask why i raise the issue again right now. i do it because the outcomes of the debates we're having right now -- whether it's health care, or the budget, or reforming our housing and financial systems -- all these things will have real,
now, the premise that we're all created equal is the opening line in the american story. and while we don't promise equal outcomes, we have strived to deliver equal opportunity -- the idea that success doesn't depend on being born into wealth or privilege, it depends on effort and merit. and with every chapter we've added to that story, we've worked hard to put those words into practice. it was abraham lincoln, a self- described "poor man's son," who started a system of land grant now, the premise that we're all created equal is the opening line in the american story. and while we don't promise equal outcomes, we have strived to deliver equal opportunity -- the idea that success doesn't depend on being born into wealth or privilege, it depends on effort and merit. and with every chapter we've added to that story, we've worked hard to put those words into practice. it was abraham lincoln, a self- described "poor man's son," who started a system of land grant colleges all over this country so that any poor man's son could go learn something new. when farms gave way to factories, a rich man's son named teddy roosevelt fought for an eight-hour workday, protections for workers, and busted monopolies that kept prices high and wages low. when millions lived in poverty, fdr fought for social security, and insurance for the unemployed, and a minimum wage. unemployed, and a minimum wage. when millions died without health insurance, lbj fought for medicare and medicaid. together, we forged a new deal, declared a war on poverty in a great society. we built a ladder of opportunity to climb, and stretched out a safety net beneath so that if we fell, it wouldn't be too far, and we could bounce back. and as a result, america built the largest middle class the world has ever known. and for the three decades after world war ii, it was the engine of our prosperity.
now, we can't look at the past through rose-colored glasses. the economy didn't always work for everyone. racial discrimination locked millions out of poverty -- or out of opportunity. women were too often confined to a handful of often poorly paid and it was only through painstaking struggle that more women, and minorities, and americans with disabilities began to win the right to more fairly and fully participate in the economy. nevertheless, during the post- world war ii years, the economic ground felt stable and secure for most americans, and the future looked brighter than the past. and for some, that meant following in your old man's footsteps at the local plant, and you knew that a blue-collar job would let you buy a home, and a car, maybe a vacation once in a while, health care, a reliable pension. for others, it meant going to college -- in some cases, maybe
the first in your family to go to college. and it meant graduating without taking on loads of debt, and being able to count on advancement through a vibrant job market. now, it's true that those at the top, even in those years, claimed a much larger share of income than the rest -- the top 10% consistently took home about one-third of our national income. but that kind of inequality took place in a dynamic market economy where everyone's wages and incomes were growing. and because of upward mobility, the guy on the factory floor could picture his kid running the company some day. but starting in the late 1970s, this social compact began to unravel.
technology made it easier for companies to do more with less, eliminating certain job occupations. a more competitive world lets companies ship jobs anywhere. and as good manufacturing jobs automated or headed offshore, workers lost their leverage, jobs paid less and offered fewer benefits. as values of community broke down, and competitive pressure increased, businesses lobbied washington to weaken unions and the value of the minimum wage. as a trickle-down ideology became more prominent, taxes were slashed for the wealthiest, while investments in things that make us all richer, like schools and infrastructure, were allowed
to wither. and for a certain period of time, we could ignore this weakening economic foundation, in part because more families were relying on two earners as women entered the workforce. we took on more debt financed by a juiced-up housing market. but when the music stopped, and the crisis hit, millions of families were stripped of whatever cushion they had left. and the result is an economy that's become profoundly unequal, and families that are more insecure. i'll just give you a few statistics. since 1979, when i graduated from high school, our productivity is up by more than 90%, but the income of the typical family has increased by less than 8%. since 1979, our economy has more than doubled in size, but most of that growth has flowed to a fortunate few. the top 10% no longer takes in one-third of our income -- it
now takes half. whereas in the past, the average ceo made about 20 to 30 times the income of the average worker, today's ceo now makes 273 times more. and meanwhile, a family in the top 1% has a net worth 288 times higher than the typical family, which is a record for this country. so the basic bargain at the heart of our economy has frayed. in fact, this trend towards growing inequality is not unique to america's market economy. across the developed world, inequality has increased. some of you may have seen just last week, the pope himself spoke about this at eloquent length. "how can it be," he wrote, "that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points?"
but this increasing inequality is most pronounced in our country, and it challenges the very essence of who we are as a people. understand we've never begrudged success in america. we aspire to it. we admire folks who start new businesses, create jobs, and invent the products that enrich our lives. and we expect them to be rewarded handsomely for it. in fact, we've often accepted more income inequality than many other nations for one big reason because we were convinced that america is a place where even if you're born with nothing, with a little hard work you can improve your own situation over time and build something better to leave your kids.
as lincoln once said, "while we do not propose any war upon capital, we do wish to allow the humblest man an equal chance to get rich with everybody else." the problem is that alongside increased inequality, we've seen diminished levels of upward mobility in recent years. a child born in the top 20% has about a 2-in-3 chance of staying at or near the top. a child born into the bottom 20% has a less than 1-in-20 shot at making it to the top. he's 10 times likelier to stay where he is. in fact, statistics show not only that our levels of income inequality rank near countries like jamaica and argentina, but that it is harder today for a child born here in america to improve her station in life than it is for children in most of our wealthy allies -- countries
like canada or germany or france. they have greater mobility than we do, not less. the idea that so many children are born into poverty in the wealthiest nation on earth is heartbreaking enough. but the idea that a child may never be able to escape that poverty because she lacks a decent education or health care, or a community that views her future as their own, that should offend all of us and it should compel us to action. we are a better country than this. so let me repeat -- the combined trends of increased inequality and decreasing mobility pose a fundamental threat to the american dream, our way of life, and what we stand for around the globe. and it is not simply a moral claim that i'm making here. there are practical consequences to rising inequality and reduced mobility.
for one thing, these trends are bad for our economy. one study finds that growth is more fragile and recessions are more frequent in countries with greater inequality. and that makes sense. when families have less to spend, that means businesses have fewer customers, and households rack up greater mortgage and credit card debt. meanwhile, concentrated wealth at the top is less likely to result in the kind of broadly based consumer spending that drives our economy, and together with lax regulation, may contribute to risky speculative bubbles. and rising inequality and declining mobility are also bad for our families and social cohesion -- not just because we tend to trust our institutions less, but studies show we actually tend to trust each other less when there's greater inequality. and greater inequality is associated with less mobility
between generations. that means it's not just temporary. the effects last. it creates a vicious cycle. for example, by the time she turns three years old, a child born into a low-income home hears 30 million fewer words than a child from a well-off family, which means by the time she starts school she's already behind, and that deficit can compound itself over time. and finally, rising inequality and declining mobility are bad for our democracy. ordinary folks can't write massive campaign checks or hire high- priced lobbyists and lawyers to secure policies that tilt the playing field in their favor at everyone else's expense. and so people get the bad taste that the system is rigged, and that increases cynicism and polarization, and it decreases the political participation that is a requisite part of our
system of self-government. so this is an issue that we have to tackle head on. and if, in fact, the majority of americans agree that our number- one priority is to restore opportunity and broad-based growth for all americans, the question is, why has washington consistently failed to act? and i think a big reason is the myths that have developed around the issue of inequality. first, there is the myth that this is a problem restricted to a small share of predominantly minority poor -- that this isn't a broad-based problem, this is a black problem or a hispanic problem or a native american
problem. now, it's true that the painful legacy of discrimination means that african americans, latinos, native americans are far more likely to suffer from a lack of opportunity -- higher unemployment, higher poverty rates. it's also true that women still make $0.77 on the dollar compared to men. so we're going to need strong application of antidiscrimination laws. we're going to need immigration reform that grows the economy and takes people out of the shadows. we're going to need targeted initiatives to close those gaps. [applause] but here's an important point. the decades-long shifts in the economy have hurt all groups -- poor and middle class, inner city and rural folks, men and women, and americans of all races.
and as a consequence, some of the social patterns that contribute to declining mobility that were once attributed to the urban poor -- that's a particular problem for the inner city -- single-parent households or drug abuse -- it turns out now we're seeing that pop up everywhere. a new study shows that disparities in education, mental health, obesity, absent fathers, isolation from church, isolation from community groups -- these gaps are now as much about growing up rich or poor as they are about anything else. the gap in test scores between poor kids and wealthy kids is now nearly twice what it is between white kids and black kids.
kids with working-class parents are 10 times likelier than kids with middle- or upper-class parents to go through a time when their parents have no income. so the fact is this -- the opportunity gap in america is now as much about class as it is about race, and that gap is growing. so if we're going to take on growing inequality and try to improve upward mobility for all people, we've got to move beyond the false notion that this is an issue exclusively of minority concern. and we have to reject a politics that suggests any effort to address it in a meaningful way somehow pits the interests of a deserving middle class against those of an undeserving poor in search of handouts. [applause] second, we need to dispel the myth that the goals of growing
the economy and reducing inequality are necessarily in conflict, when they should actually work in concert. we know from our history that our economy grows best from the middle out, when growth is more widely shared. and we know that beyond a certain level of inequality, growth actually slows altogether. third, we need to set aside the belief that government cannot do anything about reducing inequality. it's true that government cannot prevent all the downsides of the technological change and global competition that are out there right now, and some of those forces are also some of the things that are helping us grow. and it's also true that some programs in the past, like welfare before it was reformed, were sometimes poorly designed, created disincentives to work. but we've also seen how
government action time and again can make an enormous difference in increasing opportunity and bolstering ladders into the middle class. investments in education, laws establishing collective bargaining, and a minimum wage these all contributed to rising standards of living for massive numbers of americans. [applause] likewise, when previous generations declared that every citizen of this country deserved a basic measure of security -- a floor through which they could not fall -- we helped millions of americans live in dignity, and gave millions more the confidence to aspire to something better, by taking a risk on a great idea. without social security, nearly half of seniors would be living in poverty -- half. today, fewer than 1 in 10 do. before medicare, only half of all seniors had some form of health insurance. today, virtually all do.
and because we've strengthened that safety net, and expanded pro-work and pro-family tax credits like the earned income tax credit, a recent study found that the poverty rate has fallen by 40% since the 1960s. and these endeavors didn't just make us a better country. they reaffirmed that we are a great country. so we can make a difference on this. in fact, that's our generation's task -- to rebuild america's economic and civic foundation to continue the expansion of opportunity for this generation and the next generation. [applause] and like neera, i take this personally. i'm only here because this country educated my grandfather on the gi bill. when my father left and my mom hit hard times trying to raise
my sister and me while she was going to school, this country helped make sure we didn't go hungry. when michelle, the daughter of a shift worker at a water plant and a secretary, wanted to go to college, just like me, this country helped us afford it until we could pay it back. so what drives me as a grandson, a son, a father -- as an american -- is to make sure that every striving, hardworking, optimistic kid in america has the same incredible chance that this country gave me. [applause] it has been the driving force between everything we've done these past five years. and over the course of the next year, and for the rest of my presidency, that's where you should expect my administration to focus all
our efforts. [applause] now, you'll be pleased to know this is not a state of the union address. [laughter] and many of the ideas that can make the biggest difference in expanding opportunity i've presented before. but let me offer a few key principles, just a roadmap that i believe should guide us in both our legislative agenda and our administrative efforts. to begin with, we have to continue to relentlessly push a growth agenda. it may be true that in today's economy, growth alone does not guarantee higher wages and incomes. we've seen that. but what's also true is we can't tackle inequality if the economic pie is shrinking or stagnant. the fact is if you're a progressive and you want to help the middle class and the working poor, you've still got to be concerned about competitiveness
and productivity and business confidence that spurs private sector investment. and that's why from day one we've worked to get the economy growing and help our businesses hire. and thanks to their resilience and innovation, they've created nearly 8 million new jobs over the past 44 months. and now we've got to grow the economy even faster. and we've got to keep working to make america a magnet for good, middle-class jobs to replace the ones that we've lost in recent decades -- jobs in manufacturing and energy and infrastructure and technology. and that means simplifying our corporate tax code in a way that closes wasteful loopholes and ends incentives to ship jobs overseas. [applause] and by broadening the base, we can actually lower rates to encourage more companies to hire here and use some of the money we save to create good jobs rebuilding our roads and our bridges and our airports, and all the infrastructure our businesses need.
it means a trade agenda that grows exports and works for the middle class. it means streamlining regulations that are outdated or unnecessary or too costly. and it means coming together around a responsible budget -- one that grows our economy faster right now and shrinks our long-term deficits, one that unwinds the harmful sequester cuts that haven't made a lot of sense - [applause] -- and then frees up resources to invest in things like the scientific research that's always unleashed new innovation and new industries. when it comes to our budget, we should not be stuck in a stale debate from two years ago or three years ago. a relentlessly growing deficit of opportunity is a bigger threat to our future than our rapidly shrinking fiscal deficit.
[applause] so that's step one towards restoring mobility, making sure our economy is growing faster. step two is making sure we empower more americans with the skills and education they need to compete in a highly competitive global economy. we know that education is the most important predictor of income today, so we launched a race to the top in our schools. we're supporting states that have raised standards for teaching and learning. we're pushing for redesigned high schools that graduate more kids with the technical training and apprenticeships, and in-demand, high-tech skills that can lead directly to a good job and a middle-class life. we know it's harder to find a job today without some higher education, so we've helped more students go to college with grants and loans that go farther than before. we've made it more practical to repay those loans. and today, more students are graduating from college than ever before.
we're also pursuing an aggressive strategy to promote innovation that reins in tuition costs. we've got lower costs so that young people are not burdened by enormous debt when they make the right decision to get higher education. and next week, michelle and i will bring together college presidents and non-profits to lead a campaign to help more low-income students attend and succeed in college. [applause] but while higher education may be the surest path to the middle class, it's not the only one. so we should offer our people the best technical education in the world. that's why we've worked to connect local businesses with community colleges, so that workers young and old can earn the new skills that earn them more money. and i've also embraced an idea that i know all of you at the center for american progress have championed -- and, by the way, republican governors in a couple of states have championed
and that's making high-quality preschool available to every child in america. [applause] we know that kids in these programs grow up likelier to get more education, earn higher wages, form more stable families of their own. it starts a virtuous cycle, not a vicious one. and we should invest in that. we should give all of our children that chance. and as we empower our young people for future success, the third part of this middle-class economics is empowering our workers. it's time to ensure our collective bargaining laws function as they're supposed to
[applause] -- so unions have a level playing field to organize for a better deal for workers and better wages for the middle class. it's time to pass the paycheck fairness act so that women will have more tools to fight pay discrimination. [applause] it's time to pass the employment non-discrimination act so workers can't be fired for who they are or who they love. [applause] and even though we're bringing manufacturing jobs back to america, we're creating more good-paying jobs in education and health care and business services. we know that we're going to have a greater and greater portion of our people in the service sector. and we know that there are airport workers, and fast-food workers, and nurse assistants, and retail salespeople who work their tails off and are still living at or barely above poverty.
[applause] and that's why it's well past the time to raise a minimum wage that in real terms right now is below where it was when harry truman was in office. [applause] this shouldn't be an ideological question. it was adam smith, the father of free-market economics, who once said, "they who feed, clothe, and lodge the whole body of the people should have such a share of the produce of their own labor as to be themselves tolerably well fed, clothed, and lodged." and for those of you who don't speak old-english -- [laughter] -- let me translate. it means if you work hard, you should make a decent living.
[applause] if you work hard, you should be able to support a family. now, we all know the arguments that have been used against a higher minimum wage. some say it actually hurts low- wage workers -- businesses will be less likely to hire them. but there's no solid evidence that a higher minimum wage costs jobs, and research shows it raises incomes for low-wage workers and boosts short-term economic growth. [applause] others argue that if we raise the minimum wage, companies will just pass those costs on to consumers. but a growing chorus of businesses, small and large, argue differently. and already, there are extraordinary companies in america that provide decent wages, salaries, and benefits, and training for their workers, and deliver a great product to consumers. sas in north carolina offers
childcare and sick leave. rei, a company my secretary of the interior used to run, offers retirement plans and strives to cultivate a good work balance. there are companies out there that do right by their workers. they recognize that paying a decent wage actually helps their bottom line, reduces turnover. it means workers have more money to spend, to save, maybe eventually start a business of their own. a broad majority of americans agree we should raise the minimum wage. that's why, last month, voters in new jersey decided to become the 20th state to raise theirs even higher. that's why, yesterday, the d.c. council voted to do it, too. i agree with those voters. [applause] i agree with those voters, and i'm going to keep pushing until we get a higher minimum wage for hard-working americans across the entire country. it will be good for our economy.
it will be good for our families. [applause] number four, as i alluded to earlier, we still need targeted programs for the communities and workers that have been hit hardest by economic change and the great recession. these communities are no longer limited to the inner city. they're found in neighborhoods hammered by the housing crisis, manufacturing towns hit hard by years of plants packing up, landlocked rural areas where young folks oftentimes feel like they've got to leave just to find a job. there are communities that just aren't generating enough jobs anymore. so we've put forward new plans to help these communities and their residents, because we've watched cities like pittsburgh or my hometown of chicago revamp themselves. and if we give more cities the tools to do it -- not handouts, but a hand up -- cities like
detroit can do it, too. so in a few weeks, we'll announce the first of these promise zones, urban and rural communities where we're going to support local efforts focused on a national goal -- and that is a child's course in life should not be determined by the zip code he's born in, but by the strength of his work ethic and the scope of his dreams. [applause] and we're also going to have to do more for the long-term unemployed. for people who have been out of work for more than six months, often through no fault of their own, life is a catch-22. companies won't give their résume an honest look because they've been laid off so long -- but they've been laid off so long because companies won't give their résume an honest look. [laughter] and that's why earlier this year, i challenged ceos from some of america's best companies to give these americans a fair shot. and next month, many of them will join us at the white house for an announcement about this. fifth, we've got to revamp
retirement to protect americans in their golden years, to make sure another housing collapse doesn't steal the savings in their homes. we've also got to strengthen our safety net for a new age, so it doesn't just protect people who hit a run of bad luck from falling into poverty, but also propels them back out of poverty. today, nearly half of full-time workers and 80% of part-time workers don't have a pension or retirement account at their job. about half of all households don't have any retirement savings. so we're going to have to do more to encourage private savings and shore up the promise of social security for future generations. and remember, these are promises we make to one another. we don't do it to replace the free market, but we do it to reduce risk in our society by giving people the ability to take a chance and catch them if they fall.
one study shows that more than half of americans will experience poverty at some point during their adult lives. think about that. this is not an isolated situation. more than half of americans at some point in their lives will experience poverty. that's why we have nutrition assistance or the program known as snap, because it makes a difference for a mother who's working, but is just having a hard time putting food on the table for her kids. that's why we have unemployment insurance, because it makes a difference for a father who lost his job and is out there looking for a new one that he can keep a roof over his kids' heads. by the way, christmastime is no time for congress to tell more than 1 million of these americans that they have lost their unemployment insurance, which is what will happen if congress does not act before they leave on their holiday vacation. [applause]
the point is these programs are not typically hammocks for people to just lie back and relax. these programs are almost always temporary means for hardworking people to stay afloat while they try to find a new job or go into school to retrain themselves for the jobs that are out there, or sometimes just to cope with a bout of bad luck. progressives should be open to reforms that actually strengthen these programs and make them more responsive to a 21st century economy. for example, we should be willing to look at fresh ideas to revamp unemployment and disability programs to encourage faster and higher rates of re- employment without cutting benefits. we shouldn't weaken fundamental protections built over generations, because given the constant churn in today's economy and the disabilities that many of our friends and neighbors live with, they're needed more than ever.
we should strengthen them and adapt them to new circumstances so they work even better. but understand that these programs of social insurance but understand that these programs of social insurance benefit all of us, because we don't know when we might have a run of bad luck. [applause] we don't know when we might lose a job. of course, for decades, there was one yawning gap in the safety net that did more than anything else to expose working families to the insecurities of today's economy -- namely, our broken health care system. that's why we fought for the affordable care act -- [applause] -- because 14,000 americans lost their health insurance every
single day, and even more died each year because they didn't have health insurance at all. we did it because millions of families who thought they had coverage were driven into bankruptcy by out-of-pocket costs that they didn't realize would be there. tens of millions of our fellow citizens couldn't get any coverage at all. and dr. king once said, "of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane." well, not anymore. [applause] because in the three years since we passed this law, the share of americans with insurance is up, the growth of health care costs are down to their slowest rate in 50 years. more people have insurance, and more have new benefits and protections -- 100 million americans who have gained the right for free preventive care like mammograms and contraception,the more than 7 million americans who have saved an average of $1,200 on their
prescription medicine, every american who won't go broke when they get sick because their insurance can't limit their care anymore. more people without insurance have gained insurance -- more than 3 million young americans who have been able to stay on their parents' plan, the more than half a million americans and counting who are poised to get covered starting on january 1st, some for the very first time. and it is these numbers -- not the ones in any poll -- that will ultimately determine the fate of this law. [applause] it's the measurable outcomes in reduced bankruptcies and reduced hours that have been lost because somebody couldn't make it to work, and healthier kids with better performance in
schools, and young entrepreneurs who have the freedom to go out there and try a new idea -- those are the things that will ultimately reduce a major source of inequality and help ensure more americans get the start that they need to succeed in the future. i have acknowledged more than once that we didn't roll out parts of this law as well as we should have. but the law is already working in major ways that benefit millions of americans right now, even as we've begun to slow the rise in health care costs, which is good for family budgets, good for federal and state budgets, and good for the budgets of businesses small and large. so this law is going to work. and for the sake of our economic security, it needs to work. [applause] and as people in states as different as california and kentucky sign up every single day for health insurance, signing up in droves, they're proving they want that economic security. if the senate republican leader still thinks he is going to be
able to repeal this someday, he might want to check with the more than 60,000 people in his home state who are already set to finally have coverage that frees them from the fear of financial ruin, and lets them afford to take their kids to see a doctor. [applause] so let me end by addressing the elephant in the room here, which is the seeming inability to get anything done in washington these days. i realize we are not going to resolve all of our political debates over the best ways to reduce inequality and increase upward mobility this year, or next year, or in the next five years. but it is important that we have a serious debate about these issues. for the longer that current trends are allowed to continue, the more it will feed the cynicism and fear that many americans are feeling right now that they'll never be able to repay the debt they took on to
go to college, they'll never be able to save enough to retire, they'll never see their own children land a good job that supports a family. and that's why, even as i will keep on offering my own ideas for expanding opportunity, i'll also keep challenging and welcoming those who oppose my ideas to offer their own. if republicans have concrete plans that will actually reduce inequality, build the middle class, provide more ladders of opportunity to the poor, let's hear them. i want to know what they are. if you don't think we should raise the minimum wage, let's hear your idea to increase people's earnings. if you don't think every child should have access to preschool, tell us what you'd do differently to give them a better shot. if you still don't like obamacare -- and i know you
don't -- [laughter] -- even though it's built on market-based ideas of choice and competition in the private sector, then you should explain how, exactly, you'd cut costs, and cover more people, and make insurance more secure. you owe it to the american people to tell us what you are for, not just what you're against. [applause] that way we can have a vigorous and meaningful debate. that's what the american people deserve. that's what the times demand. it's not enough anymore to just say we should just get our government out of the way and let the unfettered market take care of it -- for our experience tells us that's just not true. [applause] look, i've never believed that government can solve every problem or should -- and neither do you.
we know that ultimately our strength is grounded in our people -- individuals out there, striving, working, making things happen. it depends on community, a rich and generous sense of community that's at the core of what happens at thearc here every day. you understand that turning back rising inequality and expanding opportunity requires parents taking responsibility for their kids, kids taking responsibility to work hard. it requires religious leaders who mobilize their congregations to rebuild neighborhoods block by block, requires civic organizations that can help train the unemployed, link them with businesses for the jobs of the future. it requires companies and ceos to set an example by providing decent wages, and salaries, and benefits for their workers, and a shot for somebody who is down on his or her luck.
we know that's our strength -- our people, our communities, our businesses. but government can't stand on the sidelines in our efforts. because government is us. it can and should reflect our deepest values and commitments. and if we refocus our energies on building an economy that grows for everybody, and gives every child in this country a fair chance at success, then i remain confident that the future still looks brighter than the past, and that the best days for this country we love are still ahead. [applause] thank you, everybody. god bless you. god bless america. [applause]
>> john boehner criticized senate democrats and president obama for failing to pass legislation to help create jobs and grow the economy. here is what he said on the house floor. hard and they've got a right to expect their elected representatives to do the same. house republicans are listening. to date the house has passed nearly 150 bills this congress that the united states senate has failed to act on. many of them would help our economy and boost job creation. nearly 150 bills passed by this house yet to be acted on by the senate. these bills would do things like increase the supply of american energy and build the keystone pipeline, roll back red tape and unnecessary regulations, provide more
flexibility to working families, reform and improve job trake programs, protect -- training programs, protect americans from cyberattacks, help schools recruit and keep the best teachers, allow the american people to keep the health care plans that they'd like or to scrap the health care law that's wreaking havoc on our economy. every single one of these bills have been blocked by washington democrats. the senate, the president continue to stand in the way of the people's priorities. now we're trying to come to an agreement on the budget and on the farm bill. amongst other issues that are in conference. chairman ryan and chairman lucas have made serious good-faith efforts to senate democrats. when will they learn to say yes to common ground? >> we bring public affairs events from washington directly to you.
putting you in the room at congressional hearings, briefings, and conferences. all as a public service of private industry. created by the cable tv industry 34 years ago. you can watch us in hd. the head of the american federation of teachers speaks with reporters at the christian science monitor. as a hearing on how the health care law will affect medicare advantage plans. president obama on jobs and income inequality. >> several live events to tell you about tomorrow morning.
jack lew will be at the charitable trust to discuss the state of financial reform. , members of the house energy and commerce subcommittee on energy and power will hear from energy regulatory commissioners. we cover a democratic steering committee hearing on the unemployment benefits that are set to expire at the end of the month. >> we will focus on the farm with one of the conferees. we will take your questions about the affordable care act and budget negotiations. washington journal is live on c- span every day at 7:00 eastern.
>> friday, washington journal looks at the mission and role of the national institutes of health starting live at 7:30 a.m. easter with the director -- eastern with the director. 8:00, infectious diseases director. at 9:00, national cancer institute director. a look at the national institute of mental health. all with your calls and comments live on c-span. american federation of teachers president criticize the implementation of the common core education standards and defended public employee
pensions saying wall street interests are responsible for detroit's bankruptcy. she spoke to reporters at a breakfast hosted by the christian science monitor. >> our guest is randi weingarten, president of the american federation of teachers. this is her first visit with the group. she got an early look at the joys of helping children learn when her mother was a teacher. she earned degrees from cornell university and a law degree from cardozo school of law. she worked at a wall street law firm for several years. she taught in brooklyn while serving as counsel for the president of the united federation of teachers. she served as president for 12 years before her election as a ft president in 2008.
that ends the biographical portion of the program. as always, we are on the record here. please no live blogging or tweeting or other means of filing while this is underway. there is no embargo on the breakfast. our friends at c-span have portion of the program. as always, we are on the record here. please no live blogging or tweeting or other means of filing while this is underway. there is no embargo on the breakfast. our friends at c-span have agreed not to air video of the session until one hour after the broadcast is over to give reporters time to file. give me a nonthreatening signal and i will call on one and all. low on the subtleties scale, but nonthreatening anyway. nonthreatening is what i'm concerned about. we will offer our guests the opportunity to make some opening comments and then we will move around the table. low on the subtleties scale, but nonthreatening anyway. nonthreatening is what i'm concerned about. >> first of all, i just want to say thank you for all of you for being here. and thank you for letting me engage in this give-and-take with everyone. can you hear me? i am an asthmatic.
when i am sitting instead of standing, i have to actually really use my lungs. it is an interesting -- i riff on that a little bit, because it is interesting when i start talking about things like health i know from my own teenage years that the days i was having a hard time breathing, i was having a hard time in school. the days that i could actually read well, i was more focused. when i start talking about things like wraparound services and health services, it is where primal to me. i am sure that most of you filed some stories about the sky falling. i want to thank all of you for
that. we've been through this rodeo before. it is the third or fourth time that results have had some real combustion in the united states. having that data is really good. the united states is pretty much at the back of the pack for mathematics and science for the first time in 10 years. it has two or three things. number one it says that things like poverty, social economics matter. if you look at the state like
massachusetts and connecticut that the well, and what they've done, and you look at the data when you pull it out and try to account for poverty, you see where the statistics are. there's more to this. if you just stop there, we are in the inane debate that we have been for the last 20 years. the issue is, not whether poverty matters, but what can we do about it? the dominant educational strategy that we've used over the last 10 years is "no child left behind." that has been the dominant educational strategy. there've also been charter schools in competition and new standards, but that is the hyper testing, the sanctioning of
teachers. that is the dominant strategy. what we have learned from the last set of results is that that strategy does not work to move the needle. it takes us where we are, but it is not what works to move the needle. that is when you start looking at, what are the other countries doing that allow them to outlast us? what do they do? i am not suggesting that we be similar. i am not suggesting that we should be shanghaied. but the united states is different and we have to look at some of the things that they have done and say, can we adapt that here? let me explain for things and then i will go to what we are trying to do to accomplish that. >> you have four minutes more. >> that is ok. number one, the countries that outcompete us, they actually
really value, and deeply respect and value, public education. i'm saying that to my friends who are examiners, they have a big caution flag about the data. it is important to look at, but they have a big caution flag about choice and competition. that has increased segregation and poverty. in countries like chile, they've used it at the dominant education theory. number two, they are preparing teachers, supporting teachers, giving them time to collaborate. as tom friedman has seen in shanghai and has written about. number three, parents are really engaged. parents are really engage not just in terms of being told what to do, but they are very engaged.
number four, the common core matters. standards matter. but they must be done the right way, not just thrown out there and told to go do it. it must be implemented well. you see that in countries that outcompete us. poverty matters, but we have to lead with equity investments and equity strategies in order to address that. things like prekindergarten, like wraparound services that is what it says. the bottom line is, what do you do about it? there are a whole bunch of groups, including our union and other groups. there is a group of community partners, parents, who actually started talking about this for the last two or three years. we have what we call now the "principles for unity." we plan to reclaim public
education, not as it is today, not as it was 50 years ago, but to be something that fulfills our collective responsibility for individual opportunity for all kids. that means, doing things such as, having well-prepared teachers. if teachers are well prepared and if they are supported, and if they still cannot do their job, they should not be there. but we should have fair of valuations. we also have to have standards. i am a big believer in the common core, but they have to be implemented right. we have to do what california has done. suspend testing for the time being so we can actually prepare and make these work. number three, we have to focus on poverty and how we ensure that kids have a level length field. the pre-k programs, the wraparound programs, every
school that works, every district it works, we have to focus and make sure that those schools are welcoming, safe environments. welcoming, safe, and collaborative environments. you cannot show me a school that works or a district or a state or a country that works where the notion of collaboration as opposed to competition, the notion of a welcoming, safe environment so that schools are central to the community, are not the dominant theory as opposed to testing and sanctioning. that is what we are trying to do. solutions that are aligned with what communities need. we must rate neighborhood schools and try to make sure that public education is a hallmark of democracy and a propeller of our economy. most importantly, we must really make sure that we figure out how to enable all kids to have the
opportunity to not only dream big, but achieve them. >> thank you. let me ask you one or two and then we will go to kimberly to start. let me ask you about the common core standards. you said, you think that obamacare is bad and the implementation of the common core is far worse. who is to blame and anyone stepping up to fix this? >> i am not a big believer in this. i am a union leader and i could easily say, this one, this one, this one. if we are not rolling up our sleeves and actually engaging, then we are in the same debate
over who cares about kids. i care about kids, no, i care about kids. that is a debate we are having. let me just say, this is what i think is happened. we do education policy by precedent. i think the governor and the state she's right about saying, let's figure out a set of standards that are aligned to what kids need to know about the global economy. they move pretty fast about it. we were engaged with them and brought a lot of teachers to critique the materials and things like that. that is what matters. the public was not involved, parents were not involved, districts were not involved. it felt like, because of the speed at which it went, and
because the federal government incentivized through the race to the top, it became toxic. as it starts rolling out in a lot of communities and a lot of states, a person like john kane will stay to districts, you must implement. near to date has been through a tax cap. a lot of other budget cuts. the things that teachers actually need to do, work together, use the standard as a guideline on a straitjacket, have curriculum, method not happen. in a couple places it did, in a lot of places it did not. the big mistake that both the federal government made and other people -- king would say to you, i was sick and tired of telling people what to do and then not doing it.
that is not your job to tell people what to do. your job is to help navigate people through this again actual ship. consequently, last year, new york, there were elementary schools these tests. a lot of people were not prepared. the question is, how did they actually know the exact number? it creates teachers draft. you can actually figure out what the cut scores were and how to align it. between the lack of preparation for teachers, the lack of communication with parents, and the sense that you are using the data, using the kids' data, and you know exactly where the scores will come in.
this year, what has happened is that because people did not fail the test, they do not have enough funding for actually real implementation. the state put something called "engage new york" on the website. some of the stuff is really good. some of it is not. if you go to a teacher, think about it. if you say, here's the website and here are 500 pages, just do it. it is a huge instructional shift. it is not about rogue memorization, but critical thinking, helping kids persevere, helping kids get through it. that is why there are a lot of ways of saying that it was not done in a way that teachers trusted. parents did not embrace that, and you have to think about this is a huge new instructional shift. >> kimberly? >> do you anticipate that labor will come out early?
>> hillary clinton is someone that my union has supported for everything a job that she is either run for or sought. when she ran for senate in york state, we were out there and very supportive. when she ran for president in 2008, we were out there in support of. i think it is far too early to talk about any of this. the last i heard, she had not even decided whether she was running or not. i think it is too premature. frankly, there's is a lot of work we have to do between now and 2014, 2015. we are spending our time trying to figure out how to reclaim the
promise of public education and figure out how quality health care is something that all americans have and getting through the ups and downs of obamacare. i'm glad we fight is working better now. we need to work on affordable college, making sure there is retirement security for all. there is a lot of work to do the between now and 2015. >> i would like to get your thoughts on what happened to detroit yesterday. i am curious what you heard from your members in michigan about their concerns on their pensions. >> i think the ruling is very troubling morally and i think it is wrong legally. obviously it will be appealed. let me talk about why i think it is wrong morally first. the pensions and the benefit plans are deferred wages.
whether you look at the people in detroit or the people in illinois because we have also seen the illinois state legislature basically hugely cut pensions in the last 24 hours as well. pensions are people actually pay into their pension. in detroit, in illinois, people have paid 9.0% per year. 80% of those do not have social security. this is their only retirement security. in detroit, the average pension is about $19,000.
as i said, people contribute to it. what happened is that the deferred wages that people expected to get and need very much for retirement security, all of a sudden they do not have them at a period of time when they need them. what happened in this country is that as people are getting older and older, instead of having more retirement security, we have retirement insecurity. i heard people at the aarp joke that the new name for retirement is to get a job. if you are in your 70's or 80's and you're paying for your parents or paying for your kids
my sister and i every month give my father a check. my father worked as an engineer and had very little retirement security because of that. he got laid off at one point or another and the pension that he has is very meager. we give him a check every month to try to make up for that. what does this mean? locally, in united states of america, the average amount that someone has saved if they are the breadwinner, meaning between ages 45-64, is $12,000. not $12,000 annually, but they have essentially $12,000 and social security. what are we going to do about this 10 years from now? what are we going to do about this at a country in 10 or 20 years from now? what other countries have done is that they actually made retirement security a collective responsibility as a post to an employer responsibility.
what we're seeing is that fewer and fewer people have it, not more. that is why i think we have a huge moral issue. the legal issue, the banks in detroit were able to work out what they needed to work out before the bankruptcy. it is the people of detroit who served in detroit who are now subject to the bankruptcy. the people who actually created some of this recklessness were there deals out beforehand. that i think is both a moral and a legal issue. one of the issues that this ruling raises is about the import of contracts being inviolate under the u.s. constitution.
that is why i'm saying there are a bunch of different issues here. i am really troubled by it. we cannot have this kind of environment in this country. austerity, austerity, austerity. trickle-down economics. they do not create a growing economy. the new pope has spoken out about this. when our country had a burgeoning middle class, it was because we had a shared prosperity. >> how many members you have in detroit and how many you have in illinois? >> i'm going to give you a very rough guess. in detroit, we have about 3000- 4000 members.
in michigan, we have about 15,000 members. in illinois, we have about probably about somewhere around 40,000 members. maybe 50,000 members. >> 19,000 members? >> that is the average retirement that someone gets. the average retirement that a public employee gets around the country is about $24,000- $26,000. anytime anyone spends a dollar of their pension, it creates two dollars and change in economic output in the community. are we going to have a pro- growth, pro-investment, pro- middle-class economy? or are we going to keep having
this trickle-down austerity economy. that is the real question here. in both ways, a lot of lawsuits. the last thing i will say that illinois this as well, and why i think illinois in particular is political as opposed to economic. last year, the union in illinois, led by the illinois federation of teachers, the unions in illinois actually negotiated with the state senate i pension package that created roughly the same amount. that package went nowhere. instead, this one, which is actually taking -- remember what i said. this is now basically cutting annual cost-of-living increases
that retirees had going forward. it is about 100,000. >> we will go to another question. your hand signal is so subtle. we will go to you after this. >> on the same subject, do you have an idea of some other countries and their collective responsibilities? everyone is worried about social security crashing and a lot of people will elect by the side of the road. what would you do? >> i think two or three things. we have done this report.
the afc did a report a few years ago. employees have to take a share of retirement responsibilities. we agree that we have to pay into our retirement. most of these plants that you see that have been cut right now, it is because the government today pension holiday. this happened at the very same time as the crash on wall street. you have that double whammy going in at the same time. employees have always paid in and done their responsibility. right now in america, we have social security, whatever your personal savings maybe, and i would argue for a defined pension plan. there is a group of people, people from kkr who have invested in a modest pension funds in wall street, and retiree advocates who are
getting together and talking about how we should have more professionally managed funds like those investment plans. they are actually far more efficient and more accepted than the defined contribution plans. if i could change the world, i would actually delink pensions from employer responsibilities. you have that kind of legacy clause, like when you have right now in terms of the public sector. in the absence of that, we have to figure out how to actually help people. we have to help them get to a
certain percentage of their income when they are working that they have in retirement. they should actually be able to live a life in retirement that they deserve. >> like the national 401(k) program? >> we can expand social security. frankly there'll be more and more of a question that while people have more and more retirement insecurity. some of us are looking at whether some of these big, defined-benefit plans that states have, can you do with australia does? people can actually then buy in or participate in. it would be more efficient. it will be a more effective way of doing things. we have to have a national conversation about retirement security. if we do not have that
conversation right now, what is going to happen in 10 or 20 years from now? 80% of the population does not have a pension. at the same time, what we have said in this report, and we can get you this report, is that people should pay into their pensions. there should be this three- legged stool. i will be happy to get it to you. the last thing we do, and this is something i've spent a lot of time doing, is that there is about $1.5 trillion worth of pension investments that are sitting in wall street investment houses right now. what happens if we could actually use the patient capital pension for investments in infrastructure?
rebuilding america again, for creating jobs again? we have been working with the clinton global initiative and with many of the teacher funds to do this. we have made a commitment about two years ago that we would find $10 billion worth of assets to do these kind of investments. we are halfway there. there is the new york city systems that have been invested in infrastructure. health warning systems have done the same thing. we have also done retraining for the jobs of tomorrow. we have also done a whole bunch of work in terms of energy
investments. there are a lot of things you can do with this patient capital in terms of helping readers in the infrastructure. >> we are going next to sean higgins. >> one of the issues that has up in the detroit bankruptcy issues is a collection that is valued in the billions. as an educator, do you support that? >> let me just say that the educators in the city have been under a different kind of emergency manager for a long time. the governor had the first emergency management statute, but it was done in a much more it was done of a lot of conversation back and forth in terms of the educators. frankly, our members in detroit have hugely sacrificed in the last two contracts in terms of taking pay cuts and other things amounting to 12%. the city school system is working with the educators now. there've been a lot of problems. this new emergency manager has been working with the educators. they are seeing some real turnaround. i want to give them props in terms of what they have done and what they're trying to do.
they could've made the decision to sell great assets, but they did not. they made the decision, including reunions, the user pension funds to help buy city bonds -- we made a decision for the long-term viability with lots of sacrifices through the 1970's. that decision, indeed think about what is going on in york city right now, this is a city that oozes life. there is a vitality now that you do not see in the rest of the world.
watching the detroit decision, one has to wonder when you look at michigan, and look at the inequities in michigan, there is a great wealth and certain pieces of it, but what is happening in detroit? i do wonder why these decisions are being made this way. detroit can be a jewel in that state. i would caution against selling the kind of assets like that art collection. >> the problem of bullying continues to grab headlines. we have had so many high-profile and tragic cases. we have seen school districts acknowledging the reality of
these cases. the expense of the programs they have to institute, what are your members' feelings on these issues of what needs to be done? if they're a federal bullying legislation? >> i am a big believer in trying to figure out policy that works as opposed to simply some kind of top-down policy is going to sit on the books and people are going to look at it as a mandate and do nothing about it.
i don't think that answers your question -- let me start this way. i'm gay. i never talked about it for a very long time. then i started in the middle of 2007, 2008 and i talked about it. i talked about it publicly for the following reasons. after i talked about it from the pulpit that one day, i had some would seem to me teenagers,
young women, come up to me, this is 2007, and say to me crying, thank you for coming out. thank you for being a role model. i expect that when i grew up in the 1970's, but 2007 is not 2013 where it is cool to be gay. you didn't have to be closeted at that point in many ways. certainly in your city you do not have to. that said something to me, it said more of a bullying than anything else in my life. it said that the fear of being yourself is something that we actually really have to be mindful of every single day that we teach.
that is the same for teachers and it is the same for students. the question then becomes, what do you do to actually help kids not have that fear or that anxiety? and then what you do with the bullies? we have learned a lot. we have learned -- the bullying movie that was put out, i thought it was extraordinary. the first issue is education, education, education. intervention, intervention, intervention. have the funds for things like conflict resolution in schools and teaching teachers how to see it. we need to teach teachers what to do about it. we need to have funds for intervention. some of this is stuff that we can do. some of this is stuff that we have guidance counselors and social workers in schools to enforce. some of this is how kids see a trusting adult. we have rubber bands. ours is purple and says "see a bully, stop a bully." if you confront a bully and tell them to stop, most of the time that will work.
we have to educate and we have to confront and we have to actually pay attention to the interventions for both those were bully -- those who are believed and those who bully. to that extent, we need the policy to make that a reality. but if the policies do not happen, it will be worse. we have worked with the administration about this. we are big promoters of the bullying movie. we have worked with the rfk foundation about this we have worked of cartoon network, we have done a lot of that stock. the second piece of your question, in terms of teachers. let me just do a paean to teachers.
we are in an odd place in the next eight to america. you see this in terms of kids as well. teaching is so respected in other places. we are citizens of the mine. we are creating a future for kids. yet we are still in a space where we get demonized and denigrated. why is it that the teachers are more densely organized than any other employee in the united states in america? they see that it is difficult for them. we need to do a better job as unions to make sure that our members are mobilized. when you take surveys of teachers these days, you see the line going upwards. they want a voice.
we need to stop the de- professionalization, as well as the tools they need. if we are really to believe that they are poor. teachers are getting piled on a child on. any new idea, is for teachers. when they say, i cannot do this and the 500 other things you've asked me to do, then people say that is an excuse. we cannot do that to them. i have watched it in the schools, in a charter school. it had some of the best scores in new york city in the last grading.
it had higher grades than many other schools. what happened in that school? we did a different kind of contract. we have a great relationship between the teachers and the principles. we have great teachers and great principles. they do not have a set day, but they have a set number of classes. they actually teach the same material every day. they actually get to spend time at night thinking about, deeply, what they are going to teach and how they are going to teach. they have gotten a waiver that they give only one of the regions in new york city. they are focused and project- based instruction.
when you talk to the teachers and the kids in the school, they have persistent in college rates that could not be about. 90% of hispanic kids who graduate from the school attend college. 85% of the african-american kids who graduate from the school stay in college. they are doing project-based learning. they are creating real engagement between kids and teachers. when you talk to the teachers there, they stay. they do not have the attrition rate you see in other places. you see a collaborative relationship. about 15 minutes left. we will go to melanie, molly. [inaudible]
>> i wonder what you think are the biggest obstacles between unions and employers when it comes to union organizing? and what you think needs to be done? i think austerity, austerity, austerity, austerity has -- that is a whole other topic. -- we think that we don't are more into john wayne than john dewey. southerna place like l.a. county. it has done extraordinarily well toause -- that is how i got solution driven unionism.
they solve problems, not when arguments. they have done this through the transition of retiring superintendent and the retiring union president. cked to thised -- ho story to you a lot, but no one wants to write about it except in orange county. where whenlaces respect for relationships with each other and they start thinking about how they solve problems rather win when arguments -- arguments, you see real collaboration.
teaching children is complicated. arnie duncan, i give him a lot of credit. every interested party has an interest in focusing on that. it has to be about not what the next doodad reform is, but how do we help students. it is too soond to talk about 2016. what is your focus for 2014? planentioned the war and plan.ren
can this win elections outside massachusetts? when you pull the public on ,hings like education, jobs people want good jobs, people want the american jury. ant the american dream. if you look at the recent blog post, i think it was not an politico -- in sorry. i think it is totally right. one of the great unifying factors in this country was if setwork hard and play by a of fairnes